Reflections on Dean’s Foray into Parenting Advice
Here we go again. On June 23, Congressman Dean Phillips emailed his supporters and stated that “Racism is deeply ingrained…in our institutions, and in our everyday lives.” He also created a “resource guide” on his website for “racial justice allyship” to “understand our nation’s” black experience and combat “systemic racism” in America.
Now, Dean has doubled down on his lectures on race in America and is offering parenting advice to Minnesotans because raising your kids not to be racist is a “daunting task” for everyone. Don’t worry though, Dean graciously expanded his reading list, including “Raising White: Bringing up Children in a Racially Unjust America.”
As a parent, and, yes, as a Black-American, I am bewildered by Dean’s foray into parenting advice. Do Third District residents need advice from Dean Phillips to raise their kids? Will their children grow up to be racists because “racism is learned” and the only way to stop it is to follow the advice of Dean Phillips?
Despite what Dean may tell you, no amount of parenting advice or indoctrination from the far-left will resolve the significant disparities between Black-Americans and other groups until we address the single parent household crisis in which nearly 70% of black children are born into a single parent household, typically with absent fathers.
It was not always this way. In the 1960s, nearly 80% of black children were raised in two-parent homes. The presence and involvement of both parents taught them the value of social norms, family, and civic engagement – including church attendance. With the introduction of government programs, pushed by progressive politicians and urban elites, the percentage of black children born in single-parent households has increased by roughly 10% every decade since. The result has been the reduction of two-parent black families and generational welfare.
Thus, the real scandal is not the disparity between whites and blacks, but the disparity between children born to two-parent families and children born to single-parent families. Over the decades, study after study has shown that black children in two-parent households have comparable rates of achievement, and comparably low rates of poverty and involvement with the criminal justice system, as white children born in two-parent households. The evidence is clear, consistent, and conclusive: the real “privilege” in America is not “white privilege” – it is a “two-parent privilege.”
At the same time, we do not hear enough about the successes of Black-Americans because it goes against the narrative orchestrated by the progressive left. Like Dean Phillips, they want you to believe that your “privilege” and “power” prevents me and my fellow Black-Americans from achievement. That narrative is simply untrue. What they don’t talk about are the achievements of Black-Americans. This includes the significant accomplishments of the inventors and business leaders who lived through the Jim Crow laws instituted by Southern Democrats in the late 1800s and early 1900s: Elijah McCoy, the inventor of the lawn sprinkler and a lubricant device reportedly labeled as the original “Real McCoy”; Garrett Morgan, the son of a slave and inventor of the modern gas mask and traffic light; and Madam C.J. Walker, the first female to become a self-made millionaire in America.
Instead of extolling the many achievements of Black-Americans and addressing the rise in single-parent families, progressives and urban elites like Dean Phillips focus on the negatives and blame all of our problems on racism, police, and white privilege.
The most insulting part of Dean’s advice is the implication from his claim that white Americans are where they are in life due to “unearned power that comes with privilege” and that they must use this “privilege to support black communities” to “create the world we want to see.”
Quite frankly Dean, I spent my whole life rejecting those who claimed they had “power” over me and my situation in life. I rejected the gang members and thugs in Harlem who tried to bully me into the street culture. I rejected the fate of living in a trailer park and growing up in a broken home. And I rejected the narrative that I could only succeed in life at the mercy of a white man with the “unearned power” of “privilege.”
Instead, I took it upon myself to “create the world” I wanted to see. I worked full time while in college, served in the U.S. Army, had a successful career in the healthcare industry, married my high school sweetheart, and had 5 beautiful kids. I took the “power” to control my own life and, like millions of Americans of all creeds and colors, I fulfilled my dreams in the process.
In short, Dean’s suggestion that it is up to others to give Black-Americans “the world we want to see” denies me and my fellow Black-Americans the personal agency to create their own story and fulfill their own dreams.
As individuals and as a community, we must reject this narrative. More than that – as individuals, as a community, and as a country – we must focus on the shared barriers which deny us, the shared reforms which help us, and the shared experience which unites us.
By focusing on personal decisions, community values, and reforming federal programs, we will institute real and lasting change. I’m running for U.S. Congress to shift the nature of this conversation and bring real world solutions to Washington D.C. I hope you join me.